Film About Violence Against Muslim Women Sparks Protests

September 27, 2004

Source: The New York Times

On September 27, 2004 The New York Times reported, "The images roll on, now showing a woman lying on the ground, her back and legs marked by red traces of a whip. The Koranic verses on her wounded flesh say that those guilty of adultery or sex outside marriage shall be punished with 100 lashes. There are chilling sounds of a cracking whip; there is the haunting beauty of the Arabic calligraphy and soft music. These are scenes from 'Submission,' a 10-minute film shown on Dutch prime time television, written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born refugee, now a member of the Dutch Parliament. Since the English-language film was shown in late August, it has been at the center of a national uproar, which is exactly what the author wanted. Ms. Hirsi Ali, 34, who grew up as a Muslim but has abandoned her faith, said her purpose was not to give offense but to draw attention to what she contends is widespread but hidden violence against Muslim women, even those living in Europe... While the debate goes on, so do the attacks on Ms. Hirsi Ali. A rap song, played on some local radio stations, calls for her death. Chat rooms and e-mail messages announce death threats. The police in Rotterdam have just arrested a young Moroccan man whom they charged with sending a death threat to Ms. Hirsi Ali."